By accident, I found a slide from a Polish chemical presentation, that talks about a small group of biological organisms which contain chemical elements not found in the human body, like:

Can someone provide a list of examples of organisms containing these chemical elements?

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    $\begingroup$ Our body contains quite some fluorine in bones and teeth... $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Apr 17, 2015 at 9:50
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    $\begingroup$ There is separate wiki page on selenium in biology, and vanadium has this paper dedicated to it. Your assumption that these "chemical elements not found in the human body" is wrong. $\endgroup$ Apr 17, 2015 at 11:02
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    $\begingroup$ Selenium is an essential trace nutrient, what makes you think humans don't have it? For example, we have ~22 (or 25, depending on how you count them) selenoproteins, each of which contains at least one selenocysteine amino acid which is a cysteine analog with Selenium in the place of sulfur. In fact, I would be surprised if any of these elements is not present (at least in trace amounts) in the human body. Do you have any references that support the absence of one of these? $\endgroup$
    – terdon
    Apr 17, 2015 at 11:37
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    $\begingroup$ OK. Thank you for your enlightening comments. However, this question is asking about non-human organisms, that contains these elements (for example, tin, which isn't mentioned yet in any comment or answer). You proven, that my assumption was wrong and probably all of these elements are found in human body, but question remains unanswered actually (with little exception for Thaina's answer and silicon). $\endgroup$
    – trejder
    Apr 17, 2015 at 11:46
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    $\begingroup$ This slide only says that these elements aren't used by all organisms there's nothing about small group... $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Apr 17, 2015 at 14:59

2 Answers 2


All the elements you mention (B, Fl, Si, V, Cr, Se and Ti) are listed as (probable) essential trace elements in humans by the World Health Organization. The WHO document "Trace elements in human nutrition and health" mentions a host of studies addressing the functions of these elements in species ranging from bacteria and plants to primates. The following list provides some of the functions these trace elements have in humans:

  1. Boron - essential for cell membrane characteristics and transmembrane signaling (Nielsen, 1991);
  2. Fluoride - necessary for the prevention of caries and it is associated with bone health (WHO);
  3. Silicium - probably essential for healthy connective tissue and bone (WHO);
  4. Vanadium - possible role as an enzyme cofactor and in hormone, glucose, lipid, bone and tooth metabolism (WHO).
  5. Chromium - essential trace element that potentiates insulin action and thus influences carbohydrate, lipid and protein metabolism (WHO);
  6. Selenium - essential component of one of the antioxidant defense systems of the body (WHO);
  7. Tin - expected to have a function in the tertiary structure of proteins (WHO).

Nielsen, FASEB 1991; 5: 2661-7
WHO, Trace elements in human nutrition and health 1991


Silicon is not rare at all. Silicon Dioxide is Sand and Sand is content of every soil. Even just rice hull and grass blade contain silicon

If you just read in wiki page of silicon there you would see this

Silicon is an essential element in biology, although only tiny traces of it appear to be required by animals.[10] However, various sea sponges as well as microorganisms like diatoms and radiolaria secrete skeletal structures made of silica. Silica is often deposited in plant tissues, such as in the bark and wood of Chrysobalanaceae and the silica cells and silicified trichomes of Cannabis sativa, horsetails and many grasses

Also in each wiki page you place about each element. Some of them have content about biology/organism chemical component. Such as Boron and Fluoride. You can search their page with {organ} or {bio}


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